February 14th, 2004


Lynn Does London, Day 2

grey_lady had decided we'd be best off hitting Tesco's after 9am to avoid the rush hour crowds. It was the token day of rain my whole trip. Their Tesco's is a nice-sized supermarket. It reminded me of some of our larger Safeway or Albertson's stores. They had some kind of gooseberries I'd never seen, and they had ugli fruit, which I grew up on back east but have only seen once in California. Had we not been going away for the weekend I'd have snagged some of the fruit. Instead, I grabbed a few boxes of Splenda tablets (we don't get it in tablet form in the US), some varieties of instant hot chocolate we don't get in the US, and a bag of poppadums because I like them. After a quick lunch of pasta, we loaded their car (notably leaving behind "Fido") and headed to the con.

I noticed the propensity of buildings made of brick. Lots of open space, and lots of brick houses. We hardly have any brick houses in California because they have this distressing tendency to crumble and fall during earthquakes. I also learned they still use miles in the UK (Canada uses kilometres). We stopped at a rest stop, where I picked up another diet Coke and some sugar free shortbread. rdmaughan pointed out that shortbread is Scottish rather than British. I felt a tad stupid for having blurred the difference.

We arrived at the con around the same time as unclechristo, who remembered me from GAFilk and gave me a big hug. After we all checked in I headed down to the pub area and ran into lots of folks and met many more, including vaurien, rinioth, plaid_dragon, pola_bear and her sister, Anna (whose LJ name I don't know offhand), auntie_marion, Rhodri, keristor, filkerdave, bardling, roja, shannachie, katyhh, fleetfootmike, Anne, Annie and Tim Walker, oreouk, demoneyes, most of the filkers from the Tun, Peggi and Ken Warner-Lalonde, Kathy and Leo Sands, and cadhla, for whom I had a delivery from California.

We grabbed dinner at the hotel, then since the packets needed stuffing, billroper, Gretchen, and I proceeded to do it. billroper went way beyond the call of duty as GOH. After we'd stuffed packets, folks registered, I signed up for the Ropers' improv workshop. Then we had the first concerts. First it was Yooh and Katy, followed by Sibylle, then the Suttons. All were wonderful. Yooh and Katy always amaze me, Sibylle does incredible wordplay in English (and it's not even her first language!), and the Suttons put on a lively show. After that I was too tired to filk and instead hit the hotel pub, where I got to meet delennara and puggie. Both were delightful. I managed to talk the pub into feeding me a plate of cheeses and biscuits, and I was finally snapping out of hypoglycemic shock -- just enough to make it to bed.

Lynn Does London, Day 3

[Okay, technically I was in Bromsgrove all day, but I like the title....]

  • The British filk community is more insular than most. Nearly everyone seems to know each other, much more so than in North America.
  • The Brits have a lot more of folks sticking to their own age group when they hang out. This is kind of sad because there are folks much younger than me whom I'd like to have gotten to know better.
  • Musically, the folks here are more formally educated than in the US. More folks here read music. Ah kin communikayte. :-)

My day started at 3:30am. "Lynn, this is Warren. Are you awake?"

"No! It's 3:30 in the morning!"

He then proceeded to first chew me out for not being on the Internet 24/7, then rattled a bunch of messages off to me, including one about a potential job, but I needed to get to the Internet to reply. He had told the lady I was "out of state on a family emergency." That only half-covered things, but why he lied, I don't get it. I then was crazy. I had to get to the Internet even though I was in an Internet wasteland in the middle of the night. I could not get back to sleep. This ruined my next few days.

It was eventually time for breakfast, so I showered, then went to the buffet and joined fleetfootmike and family. I was going to ask Anne Whitaker for help with a number, but she had laryngitis.

British breafkast sausages are fatter than ours. They also eat baked beans with breakfast (weird). Like the Australians, they like grilled tomatoes with breakfast, but since they were handled with the same spoon as the mushrooms and since tomatoes sometimes bother my stomach, I avoided them.

grey_lady came by with a little packet of Marmite because she knew I wanted to try it, so I spread a light glaze of it on a slice of toast and ate it. I could feel the B vitamins hitting and was a happy camper. I then started spreading some more. Anne said "wait," then slathered a slice of toast with butter, then on top of that lightly glazed her knife with Marmite, producing a thinner layer than mine. "That's how you're supposed to do it," she rasped, then remarked how my taste buds must be gone. I reminded her it was morning and that they hadn't yet woken up. :-)

The Whitakers had to get their son to child care, and I got up to get more food at the same time, but when I went back our table had been cleared, so I finished my breakfast sitting with Melusine, a lovely and charming filker I'd never come across before. She was sipping and diluting British coffee -- the stuff flower_cat had warned me off of. As I was finishing, my friend Duncan showed up. Duncan is a Canadian who recently moved to the UK, so this was also his first British filk con.

We had a little time, so we went into town in search of a couple of items, then rushed back so I could hit the Ropers' workshop and Duncan could register. The Ropers kick ass, btw. I learned a lot about comedy improv from them. If we ever get them out to Consonance I am going to insist they do the workshop for us.

Afterwards I went to catch the concerts and was just in time for the Split-Level Band featuring Martin and Andy Gordon-Kerr. Five people ran out to their instruments and started playing with no introductions as to who was who. Duncan and I had no idea till after the set which one was Martin and which was Andy. They were fantastic instrumentally and did good material, including "Don't Play the Theremin." Andy's voice warmed up as the set went on. Andy is very much a "she," btw; somehow I'd been led to believe Martin and Andy were brothers. Big mistake. There were times when they'd do a song, saying, "I'm sure this one is familiar to you" and Duncan and I wouldn't "get it." Again, filk is highly regional, and folks don't realize how regional it is till they travel.

They were followed by the lunch break. Brits seem to eat lunch at 1pm rather than at noon. Duncan and I rushed back into town to get copies of music made, and unfortunately didn't get back in time for most of the N'Early Music Consort's set. We caught their last number and it was good. They also Ying Tonged their way off stage, and I had to explain why that was funny to Duncan (I knew the reference from having collected old comedy records; he didn't).

Next was The Main Concert. That's British Filk Con-ese for "the clump of 2x10s." I caught a few, including one by a terrific performer named Lawrence Dean I'd never heard of before this weekend, but because I hadn't slept that night I needed to nap. Badly. I missed the offsite dinner run because Duncan felt I needed sleep more (sigh). I did, however, get to dine with rinioth at the hotel, so that was way cool. He's someone I wanted to spend some time chatting with. Valerie had the vinegar for the fish and chips, which is when I learned the hotel did have it but probably figured the "Murrican" wouldn't want them (and here I was thinking "these sure do taste flat!"). I put the vinegar on my remaining fish and chips and they were much better. (I like malt vinegar and eat it in California.)

I rested a little, socialized a little, then it was time for the GOH concerts. First the Ropers did theirs. I had to skip out midway to escort Duncan to the lobby so he could catch the train back to where he was living. I then caught the end of the Ropers' set. They're good. Bill explained how he'd become The Grim Roper and how Gretchen had pulled him away from that. Yaay Gretchen! She was in front looking oh-so elegant.

Between GOHs we had Divine Strumpet, a group so hot Talis Kimberley was the matron of the quartet -- and if you know anything about Talis, she's anything but matronly! The other three were callylevy, little_cinnamon, and Rachel, a gal who performs with "Cosmic Trifle." They kicked ass. I didn't quite get the "Supercats" joke, which appeared to be poking fun at something with a reference point I didn't have. The "Cottontail Girls" number they ended with was hysterical, especially when Talis tweaked one of the Playboy Bunny ears she was putting on Rachel.

The last concert was unclechristo's. He was amazing. He did stuff with his 9-string guitar (a 12-string with three not strung), a keyboard, kalimba, whistle, a harmonizer (I've played with the same model in the US and they're fun), and his infamous Theremin. In one of his last numbers I was part of a trio playing a three headed half-alien girl with pola_bear and Kate Soley Barton. shannachie loaned us her shawl so we could look like one alien like the other "three-headed girl" on stage did.

After the concert, Valerie Housden, Kate SB, highstone, and hrrunka and I rehearsed "Winter On My System" in my room. Eventually we tired out. I visited the filking but was too tired to participate, so I downed some nummy Swiss chocolates and staggered to bed.

Lynn Does London, Day 4

[The reason for the much earlier date is this is the only entry I did on the plane that was properly saved.]

  • The British filk con doesn't have a Toastmaster. They need one. There were times when acts didn't know who was supposed to introduce them, and there was no clean way to get them to end on time. Having a designated MC would fix this. If they don't have one the next time I'm there, I will happily volunteer for this job, as I've got a nationwide reputation for making programming tracks run on time.
  • The Brits start their cons way earlier than we do. This also meant the open filking was sparsely attended. Too bad.

This time I had a hard time getting up. I barely made it to breakfast in time to get enough to eat. I sat with auntie_marion, Donna, and a bunch of other folks whose names I couldn't read but who were fascinating. I tried black pudding and discovered I like it. There were "religious" arguments as to whether Scottish or English black pudding is better, the Fair Isles vs. the SCA, and some surprise on their part that I wasn't involved in the latter at all. Truth be told, I once went to an SCA campout and didn't fit in. Some folks are cut out for camping; I'm not one of them...but I digress. Anyhow, I really enjoyed the tangents they were going off onto. We also compared notes regarding what people yell at "Rocky Horror Picture Show."

The group "Chimes" needed the main room to set up for their concert, so there was no way to go over my sound requirements, so instead we rehearsed for my concert. I had Kate Soley Barton on soprano, Valerie on alto, highstone on tenor, and hrrunka on bass for "Winter on My System." It was cool to do it with a real vocal group for the first time. Next Valerie, Rhodri, and I rehearsed "He's Not On The Net."

I was able to catch a little bit of Chimes before I had to move out of my room. They were also amazing. little_cinnamon is an amazing musician. It seemed like she was switching instruments every time I blinked my eyes. She also has a lovely voice, and this time I got to hear more of it. The rest of the group was also excellent.

I missed Songbird's concert altogether because I was moving out of my room. I had to exit the room while waiting for the bellhop because it was time for my concert. I arrived with computer, guitar, synth, and music in tow. keristor reminded me I "only have 15 minutes." I really had 45 minutes, but he was tired, too. I had allowed for setup time and ended just before 1pm. The choral numbers seemed to go well, and I was amazed at what folks did and didn't laugh at. Some of the biggest laughs came during "Grandma's Training Bra" and the "Aquarius" segment of "Poetry's Greatest Hits," while the "Casey at the Bat" segment fell flat (another case of different reference points; kids in the US are force-fed that poem), and Edgar Allen Poe got some laughs but not as many. I'm guessing Brits don't read as many American poets in school as we do in the US.

I ended with me being backed by a rough cut of my recording of "I Lost My Baby On The Information Highway." I could tell the geeks in the crowd because they got more of the jokes in it. Afterwards folks told me they'd already heard the song. I'm told bardiclug has done it there. (I have yet to hear his version and want to!) Much to the surprise of the tech crew, my concert ended just before 1pm as I'd intended it to. (A lot of concerts ran late this weekend, so they naturally expected mine to do so. I reminded them I've run a few cons in my time....)

After that I tucked away my computer, got some soup for lunch, managed to introduce myself to pbristow, and just hung out till the Sams (their at-con awards) and "Brownie Queen" awards were given out. I wish the rules for the Sams had been better deliniated so those of us not familiar with them could understand how they worked. Again, another example of how folks take for granted everyone knows everyone and how everything works.

The con officially ended with "Sam's Song," and I was amazed at how nearly everyone there knew all the words to all the verses without having lyrics in front of them. I can't even do that with Hope Eyrie!

Immediately after closing, the Maughans and I had to whisk off because grey_lady had a business trip and I had an Internet to catch. I teased them about how they were doing the con a favor by removing me from the premises before the Chinese food run. grey_lady and I had dinner (rdmaughan had eaten beforehand), I forced myself onto the Internet after rdmaughan and I kludged a connection from the kichen, and then I crashed, alas, without a proper goodnight.

Lynn Does London, Day 5

  • Was their house really under the flight path to Heathrow? I didn't notice. :-)
  • London is way too big and fascinating to try to do in one or two days.

I slept till around 5am, woke briefly, then went back to sleep till something like 1pm, effectively getting in two days' worth of sleep. grey_lady was already away on her business trip, but rdmaughan was still there recovering from the con. I had a cup of English Breakfast tea and some cereal while hitting the Internet, arranged for dinner with the_magician and the Sands, showered and dressed, then set off for Harrod's. the_magician had agreed to loan me his USB scanner, thus making it possible for a possible job to happen upon my return (more on that in another entry).

Anyhow, I knew to take the tube to Knightsbridge for Harrod's. I like the Underground; it reminds me of New York's subways in terms of convenience and ease of use. I only wish they had bigger maps. With the Maughans' copy of "London A to Z" hidden away in my pants pocket (mustn't look like a tourist!), I set off.

Harrod's was cool. I mostly hit the food area. I picked up gifts for various folks in the states, a mangosteen for myself, and regretted not buying some other weird fruits i'd never seen, including one that kind of looked like it could have been a space alien from some movie. I also did tea with a cheese biscuit, scones, and clotted cream at the cheese bar. Mmmm....

As Harrod's was closing, it was time to get back to the Maughans', where I'd meet up with the_magician and the Sands for dinner. I arrived ahead of them (phwew!), then set up my computer for when they'd arrive. Due to the Sands' luggage having been hauled in the_magician's car, my entering it would've meant Leo Sands would have had to get out, so we decided I should walk to the restaurant. I did so, getting there seconds after their car did.

The restaurant, Saigon, was a Vietnamese place that did an all-you-can-eat dinner where they'd cook up the food as you requested it. This worked extremely well from a mushroom-avoidance standpoint. We ate well and had a lively conversation. In fact, I felt kind of bad for the_magician because the Sands and I were catching up on gossip between our coasts because we've had so little time to chat at past cons!

After dinner, the_magician drove me back, loaned me the scanner, and I was able to scan in the signed documents to send to the US to start the security check that could eventually lead to my having a job. I then went to bed so I could be up for a long day of playing tourist.

Lynn Does London, Day 6

  • The tube rocks!
  • Tourists sure can be rude. The natives weren't.
  • British tastes run milder than Californian but stronger than Canadian.
  • Everyone sounds more charming over here -- even street beggars. No matter what folks look like, they all speak the Queen's English and not some weird dialect, such as British Ebonics.

This was My One Big Day To See London. Like a little kid, I woke up way too early, but with enough time to map out my travels. Using the Web and help from folks on #filkhaven, I managed to figure out where I wanted to go and what tube stops were closest. I left with rdmaughan and started my day. First was my trip to Abbey Road to see where the Beatles crossed the street. All the tourist kitch in the area was hysterical. The graffiti outside the Abbey Road Studios wasn't. Folks work in there, and IMHO writing "so-and-so was here" on the wall is rude. Whoever was recording that day was clearly loaded, as all the cars outside were expensive. I'd have loved to have watched the session.

Next was lunch with highstone. We went to an Indian all-you-can-eat buffet so I could get my requisite curry, which was much milder than I'm used to in the US. Granted, in my neck of the woods we've got lots of folks from India, but I was hoping it'd be hotter. Oh well; it was still tasty, and highstone was an excellent lunch companion. I felt like a total lunkhead, being brain-fried and not as well-read as I'd like to be (I know more about US history and literature than anyone else's). He was curious about filking in California, and I told him my impression of what things are like. For example, we don't all live in Oakland (we're all spread out), and BART doesn't come anywhere close to the London Underground in terms of adequacy (and doesn't even run where I live).

highstone also showed me around the neighborhood where he worked. The British Museum was there, but I didn't have the time to see it (it was either that or everything else). Another trip I'll hit it. I'd also have liked to have visited the library where he works just to see how libraries differ from those in the US (hey, I like libraries and hold cards to several around where I live).

highstone and I went to a small second-hand bookstore. I was hoping to find a really old cookbook for Mom, but the oldest they had were from the 1960s or 1970s -- hardly old by her standards. I was trying not to look too closely at the books for fear I'd weigh my luggage down even further than already planned. :-)

Next, highstone showed me how to take the bus to the Twinings store. I didn't get off at the right stop, but I had a marvelous time getting lost. I saw a shop selling "Magic Mushrooms," and hey, I got to ride on the top of a double-decker bus. Eventually I reverted to the tube and found the store. I bought so much tea they gave me a free tea canister. I wasn't sure if it would survive the trip, but it had a lovely horse riding motif on it; a perfect gift for dimakoi, who loves horses, was watching out for Warren while I was away, and who would likely be picking me up at the airport.

I decided since I was close to the Thames I should see it. I saw lots of cool bridges, but after walking a while realized I should take the tube to the London Bridge. I did, only to find out it was a tourist trap and that I couldn't really see the bridge from the bridge. I did find someone selling pasties made in Cornwall, so I bought one, along with a can of sugar-free Orange Tango to try. I stuffed them in my bag, got my requisite photo of a McDonald's for Warren, then took the tube to Buckingham Palace so I could see it in daylight.

Note: It's not "buck-ing-HAM," but "BUCK-ing-em." rdmaughan warned me in advance that calling it "Bucking-HAM" Palace would flag me as "an American Tourist" in the worst possible way. bedlamhouse had also warned me not to ask for directions to "Mornington Crescent," especially in a heavy American accent, but I didn't have enough time to care.

To get to Buckingham Palace you have to walk through a park. The park reminded me a little of Central Park, but with fewer trees and more open, grassy spaces. There were rules about dogs, specifically, if you had more than four with you, at least two had to be on leash -- or something like that. They love dogs over here, and I got to see lots of cool ones.

Eventually I got to the palace, saw the guards, and went to the gift shop, where they sell lots of overpriced souvenirs for tourists. I was too late for a tour, but it wasn't like I had time for one anyway. It was pretty and big.

Next, it was onto Oxford Street for Selfridge's and whatever other shopping I might do. Selfridge's is almost as uppity as Harrod's. They sold barrettes for £40 each (that's around $80 US). Ouch. I had hoped to find a wallet, but theirs were overpriced and grouped by designer. Instead, I picked up lots of Green and Black's chocolates and a thank-you card for the Maughans there (it even had dandelions on the cover!) and picked up a wallet for Warren across the street at a luggage store for only £5. There wasn't much of a selection in terms of color and style, so I decided to hold off on one for myself. I'd really wanted one with a detachable change pouch for travel, but they didn't carry one.

I never did find the sweater shops of which fleetfootmike spoke, but what I did see cost way more than I could afford to spend anyway, so it's probably just as well. I did find a small Tesco's, so I picked up some Marmite, some treacle tarts to try that night (to knock myself out quickly), and a bottle of Fairy dish soap for Consonance's Interfilk auction.

My last stop was Piccadilly Circus. I decided taking a bus would be more interesting from a visual point of view. Besides, I was exhausted, and I didn't feel like dealing with flights of stairs in the tube to go one stop. I picked a bus line that ended at Piccadilly Circus so I couldn't screw up, then relaxed and enjoyed the ride. I got out, and immediately noticed the Reduced Shakespeare Company was playing. Hee. I come all the way from northern California and there's a bunch of northern Californians playing. (In their earlier days they used to play our Renaissance Pleasure Faire.)

I also saw a Burger King with an Internet cafe. Figuring I'd better check my e-mail for job stuff, I stopped in, checked e-mail, and had a few minutes to spare, so I logged into #filkhaven and chatted with folks, most of whom seemed surprised by the mileage I'd covered. After that it was more looking around and souvenir shopping. Finally, I took the tube back to the Maughans to eat, sleep, check the Internet one last time, and pack. Just as I was getting ready to crash another possible job came through. I had to explain that I was "out of the US till late tomorrow night" and thus couldn't exactly "phone home." After the treacle tarts I set wake-up alarms on my Palm, went to bed, and went THUD to sleep.

Lynn Leaves London: Day 7

I awoke with my first Palm alarm. Phwew. I was nervous enough about making the return work that I was already showered by the time the second alarm went. rdmaughan had been cued to wake me if I wasn't up by then, but he didn't have to, and I'm sure he was relieved. I went downstairs, made myself a cup of sugar-free barley water (something I wish we had in the US), and packed while hitting up the Internet one last time. I dealt with job stuff, confirmed that my scanned-in forms made it safely to their recipient, and said my goodbyes.

rdmaughan had to leave before I did, so he said goodbye for himself and grey_lady. Just as I closed the suitcases and got the last ones down from upstairs, the_magician arrived to take me to the airport. He was kind enough to detune Melody (my guitar) for me while I packed up the computer and power supply. We staged all my bags, got them into the car, and I locked the Maughans' house and returned the key through the mail slot.

Next it was the drive to Heathrow, complete with square trees. I'm told this is a unique British phenomenon. It was amusing. I checked in, got a "hearty breakfast" and finally got up the guts to try British coffee, which was not the rotgut I was led to believe. It was just strong, which was not a problem. Properly configured (milk and sweetener), it was fine.

I then browsed the shops at the airport, aka "one last chance to have the tourists part with their money," then went through security to the gates. There was a huge duty-free shop with lots of overpriced goods. There were other shops selling stuff I was pretty sure I couldn't take to the US. I just looked, rolled my eyes, then went to my terminal to await boarding my flight. I had to go through yet more security, but eventually got to the lounge area for my flight.

This flight was more crowded. I was crammed in next to a guy who seemed determined not to move. I tried finding a seat to move to, but the arms on the seats in the bulkhead row didn't lift up, making them useless for sleeping, so I was stuck. Uck. There were also no movies I wanted to see going this way, so I tried doing some arranging on my computer, then tried sleeping. The diabetic meals on this flight had some kind of "mystery sauce," and since we couldn't guarantee they didn't have mushrooms, the crew instead brought me some cheese, crackers, and fruit -- and I was happy. What we couldn't figure out is why the diabetic meal had a salad dressing with "high fructose corn syrup" as the first ingredient, while the "normal" meals had oil and vinegar. Yeesh.

Once the plane landed at JFK we had to walk down long corridor after long corridor to the long US Customs lines. This was about the worst immigration I'd had to deal with. I waited forever, got past quickly, then had to wait and wait for my luggage to come off the carousel. Then I had to go through another check where I got pulled over to be asked about my "food." Nobody made me open any suitcases. I could have lied and smuggled in contraband and nobody would have known. Yeesh.

The airport was under construction, which meant I had to leave the customs area, go outdoors and through another airport entrance, and then through the stupid TSA checkpoint again to get to my flight. Once in the terminal area, there was nobody selling real food.

My flight was supposed to leave at 4pm, but the plane had problems with its gas gauge, so we were deplaned, then had to wait for another plane to arrive. We all tried to get food in vain. The TGI Friday's satellite was only selling booze. I was ready to keel over. Eventually the bartender agreed to sell the hot dogs there. They were awful, but it was food. The head guy even showed up at the gate; I managed to talk him into giving us free drinks on the flight when we eventually did replane and became instantly popular with the rest of the passengers. :-)

During this interlude I tried to contact dimakoi but to no avail. I then text-messaged Warren with the flight info. I tried phoning him, but I got his voice mail. Feh. My friend Kristin was conscious and was text-messaging me in real time, so that was a relief. I told her about the plane situation, figuring she'd get dragged into the loop if Warren couldn't get ahold of dimakoi.

When the plane we were supposed to get onto had hydraulic problems, they had to get one from the hangar. That was when they finally gave us meal vouchers. We had $10 to spend in less than half an hour, and we had to go in and out of the TSA checkpoint to do it. Ugh. I choked down a smoked chicken quesadilla at the main TGI Friday's. By the time we were ready to board, the bulk of us on the flight felt like old friends from running into each other during the 4.5 hour wait.

Needless to say, we all took advantage of the free booze. I had a small bottle of chardonnay. The guy next to me had scotch and soda. The Good Stuff was gone by the time the attendants had made their rounds. My dinner was the same mystery meat, way too much unsalted rice, and salad with sugary dressing I'd been given on the way out. I ate the meat, left the rice and salad, and ate the roll and the melon I'd had for dessert.

The movie on the flight was one I didn't care to see, so I again tried doing stuff on the computer. I was very fatigued and tried sleeping a little. I also tried walking around a bit because my legs felt very water-logged. Eventually we landed, and I saw I had text and voice messages indicating Warren was instead picking me up -- at midnight (yes, the flight was that delayed). I phoned Warren, who was waiting in a nearby parking lot, to let him know I had landed safely and was waiting for my luggage. Eventually I collected it, then called him, and he picked me up.

Warren loaded my suitcases into the trunk, then told me he expected me to drive him home and then drive myself home and unload my car. Uh, right. I eventually emphasized to him I was in no shape to drive. that there was no way I could lift the suitcases out of the trunk by myself, and got him to drive me home and get my suitcases out.

At that point I was exhausted and collapsed in my nice, clean bed with my nice, fluffy doggie who missed me, touching base with the folks in #filkhaven to let them know I'd arrived safely.

In all, it was a pleasant trip, too short, and I want to go back and see more.